Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is today expected to leave for Kenya to attend the Zimbabwe–Kenya Joint Permanent Commission on Co-operation (JPCC) which seeks to enhance collaboration in various fields between the two countries.
The State visit is expected to open horizons for economic co-operation between the two republics — as the President continues to take his re-engagement and engagement to all parts of the world.
Critically, the session is taking place 25 years after the convening of the second session in Harare in January 1997 — in what also reflects the Second Republic’s new approach that seeks not only to broaden the country’s diplomatic horizons but also boost economic co-operation.
In his opening statement at the third session of the Zimbabwe– Kenya JPCC, Ambassador James Manzou, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and co-chair of the senior officials meeting said the two countries must put into action their words.
“We should, in the next two days, put our shoulders to the wheel and ensure that we conclude negotiations on a number of MoUs to be signed during the State visit to Kenya by His Excellency President Emmerson D Mnangagwa,” said Ambassador Manzou.
He said the “third session of our JPCC was deliberately timed to precede the State Visit to this beautiful country by His Excellency Cde Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe”.
“Our two Principals expect the outcome of this meeting to directly feed into their programme. We, therefore, need to focus our energies on agreements/MoUs that are at an advanced stage of negotiation to ensure that they are concluded and signed during this session.”
Ambassador Manzou said under the economic cluster, there are draft agreements and MoUs at different stages of negotiations.
“The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), the avoidance of double taxation agreement, and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in tourism and wildlife conservation. It is imperative for our two countries to quickly negotiate and conclude these legal instruments as they are pivotal to closer economic co-operation between our two countries.”
“In the social and cultural cluster, the Memorandum of Understanding on the promotion of co-operative development and the MoU on the promotion of women empowerment and community development stand out among those that need to be fast-tracked because of our important contribution to the welfare of communities in both countries.
“Of course, this is not to forget the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of sport and recreation.
“In the field of soccer, I note that both Kenya and Zimbabwe recently suffered a similar fate after FIFA imposed bans on our national soccer organizations. We urgently need to exchange views and strategise on how to resolve the issues involved,” said Ambassador Manzou.
He said, “In our own political and diplomatic cluster, you will agree with me that it was a gross oversight that we did not conclude a Memorandum of Understanding on political and diplomatic consultations soon after we signed the General Agreement on Co-operation between our two countries in August 1989.
“The MoU is instrumental in driving forward bilateral co-operation through frequent exchanges between our two ministries of Foreign Affairs. I am consoled that we now have the draft MoU before us at this session. I hope that it will be finalised and signed at this JPCC session.”
Ambassador Manzou said both countries have robust agricultural sectors which form the backbone of their economies.
“We would have expected that MoUs on cooperation in this sector would by now have been exchanged between the respective line ministries/departments, but we will for now leave that as homework for those colleagues responsible for that area.”
Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya and Co-Chair of the Senior Officials meeting of the Zimbabwe–Kenya JPCC said if Africans remain divided they will be vulnerable.
“We continue to see the horrors of the draconian sanctions; my President speaks about this every time he goes to the Security Council. He reminds the world that these sanctions imposed by the Europeans are unacceptable, they are barbaric and they are racist, and have left Zimbabwe a poorer place and hurt the people of Zimbabwe.”
Ambassador Kamau commended Econet founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa for his role in the continent’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.